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The antiquities act of 1906 was the first law in the United States to designate and protect archaeological sites and artifacts. It gave the president the right to declare by public proclamation the creation of “national monuments, historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” based on archaeological significance. In addition, looting of related artifacts was made illegal on federal lands.

The Antiquities Act has three primary parts. First, it calls for the prosecution of persons who excavate, appropriate, injure, or destroy any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument or any artifact on federal lands, and specifies penalties for those convicted of these offenses. The act specifies that any person convicted of appropriating, excavating, injuring, modifying, or destroying any historic ...

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